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Aug
12

Grace: the intersection between The Creator and the created

Grace is the intersection where Creator and created meet to form an intimate and holy relationship allowing the created to walk in the image of the Creator, and that in doing so the Creator’s love shines through the created bringing light to a darkened world. Faith is the hope of the created in the Creator that secures this belief: along the path, regardless of what remains unseen and whatever may lie ahead, the creator is infinitely good and is to be trusted. Obedience is the created’s divinely inspired behavior; it is the willful adherence to the Creator’s Truth which bares fruitful evidence and honest witness of the grace that love has borne.

Elizabeth Marchman flower #15Most believe grace is simply Jesus’ gift resulting from His death on the cross, but grace has existed since the beginning.

The first place I see evidence of this grace is in the garden. God’s created have been disobedient to His commandment. He boots them from the garden as punishment, but He also makes clothes for them. He covers them so they will not be ashamed; He covers them because He loves them and because of this love, His mercy is great. And yes, it is grace -the unmerited favor, the lovingkindness, the giving of something unearned and undeserved.

So in the beginning, there was grace: a gift that can never, no matter what, ever be earned, and borne solely from God’s love for His created. Jesus is the manifestation of that grace. In Jesus, we have everything we need to live a set apart, holy life devoted to God.

We have a sin sacrifice.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. ~  1 John 4:10

We have forgiveness.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.~ Ephesians 1:7

We have salvation.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.. ~ 2 Timothy 1:9

We have the Word.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. ~ John 1:1-3

We have a perfect example of obedience that produces holiness.

whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked. ~ 1 John 2:6

Elizabeth Marchman flower #16After salvation begins the sanctification – the learning to be holy because God is holy.  Sanctification is the perpetual purging by God of our fleshly desires and worldly pursuits until when we are looked upon, it is not us that is seen, but Jesus.  There must be effort on our behalf to live set apart so we no longer mirror the world. It occurs through obedience; obedience begins by reading, studying, and meditating upon the Word. Jesus prayed for our sanctification long ago – Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. ~ John 17:17. And for us, it is a life long pursuit.

Jesus was the final sacrifice for our sins. And because of his death on the cross, we no longer must sacrifice animals in order to atone for those sins. There is a misconception that animal sacrifice was what saved those in the old testament from their sins and it is wholly inaccurate. It was their faith and love for God that was strong enough to create obedience to follow his instruction; their faith in and love for God were evident through their obedience to His law. God could see their righteousness and it was evident to those in their presence. For Christians today, it is the same: our faith in and love for God is seen through our obedience to His law. And his law is nothing more than our instruction of how to live, how to love and how to be holy.  Our obedience to God’s law is the only thing that sets us apart.  After all, even the demons believe and shutter; they believe, but they do not follow. Along the way, we will stumble and make mistakes, but this is where grace steps in and covers us because of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Grace must exist for faith to grow and faith is enabled when love is the center focus. We focus on love when we make God the center of who we are and all we do. Our faith undergirds our hope and our assurance that God is trustworthy in all He says He will do and who He says He is. And if obedience is the evidence of love, then faith is the rope we use to tie ourselves to God. It is faith that allows trust to exist between God and ourselves.  It is faith that allows us to hope and be assured that God is unchanging and loves us so much He would put Jesus on a cross for us, a provision created from the beginning. Faith is why Noah was obedient to build the ark before he saw the first cloud or felt the first drop of rain. Faith is why, when Isaac inquired about the sacrifice, Abraham told him God would provide one.

For without faith, we are incapable of obedience and without obedience, there is no evidence of our love. Grace is the covering which allows the pieces to fit together in such an intimate way whereby sanctification occurs naturally, instinctively as our relationship with our Father grows. In the end, faith, love, and obedience are all possible because of the lavish, unmerited gift of God’s grace. And that is the intersection where we all stand at every moment of our existence. It is a place of divine wonder and extravagant love in a town called Truth. These crossroads are first, the outstretched arms of a Savior, and beyond them lies the narrow path of sanctification and holiness we travel to become one with Him just as He is one with the Father.

Elizabeth Marchman Flower #17So now we take these first steps past those outstretched arms and onto the narrow path to follow Jesus. We take these steps in faith, in hope, and in obedience because we know He is the Word and the Word is Truth, and by it we are sanctified. And because of grace, God’s love is evident to us and in this, we can trust.

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